March 2020 Employee Spotlight

Meet our March employee spotlight, Branko Horvat! Branko is our General Manager of GCC NW. He oversees our offices in Kent, Washington, Spokane, Washington and Portland, Oregon. He has been with us for a little over a year and recently celebrated a promotion. We sat down with Branko to get to know him better and understand what motivates him to be a leader on our team.

What is your role? Briefly describe what you do.

“I was recently promoted from Sales Manager to General Manager. As a General Manager, my role is to be the team leader for all GCC NW. I am leading the team to help solidify sales with customers and provide value. With this new role, I have taken on more responsibilities to make sure our team is moving in the right direction. I want to break down the barriers to be a part of the business which will essentially make my sales teams’ jobs easier. I believe that my job is 80% leadership and 20% management because if you do a good job at being a leader, then the management side will come easier.”

Who/what inspires you?

“Kindness is what inspires me. It is one human being helping another. If we all took a little time to provide at least one act of kindness per day this would be a better world. It is about nurturing the soul of people so that they have more energy to take on the next challenge in their life. It is about elevating people to some greater need. It is about people wanting to be part of a team so they can add value.”

If you had to pick one strength you bring the to team, what would it be?

“I would say it is communication. I probably say this like a broken record, but business environments usually fail because of poor communication. Every day I try to find some new or better ways to communicate to the GCC NW team. How do we keep people informed so that they can execute the next task without worry? How do we keep doors open for innovation and entrepreneurial behavior to exist? How do we ask our people to take calculated risks? How do we continuously improve who and what we do every day? Well, it is what and how we communicate. I believe in feed forward advice versus feedback. I believe in clear vision and creativity. I believe in modeling the way for others so that they can act on behalf of the business. All of this can be realized by good communication.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I try to disconnect from work by spending time outdoors. Since moving to the northwest I’ve found myself hiking and exercising on a regular basis. I keep my mind exercised by being a woodworker. The fun is in the failures of woodworking so you can improve and one day make that one masterful piece of furniture and call it your own. I also spend a lot of my time with my wife, Erin. Her and I love camping and spending time in the outdoor space of our home. We love to travel and see the world.” 

If I could learn how to do one thing, what would it be?

“I would like to learn how to fly an airplane. It would be amazing to observe the perspective of the world from high above.” 

Where were you born?

“I was born in Chicago by Yugoslavian immigrant parents that arrived in the United States 20 days earlier. I didn’t speak English till I was 7 years old and had a speech impediment going into High School.  Most of my extended family lives in former province of Yugoslavia called Slovenia.”

What’s the best thing about your job?

“The best thing about my job is seeing and observing the success of our people. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a person light up when they succeeded in capturing the respect of our customers.” 

What’s been one of your proudest moments at EOHI?

“This goes along with the best thing about my job. The most rewarding thing is believing in someone to help improve our business and then one day have a customer say we are the best. It is about trusting our people and allowing them to run the business. Their success is when I feel a true sense of pride.”

How do you define success?

“Success is a feeling of serenity knowing that we put forth an effort to do our best in capturing the best in all of us. It is more about the effort and attitude we put forth to a common cause. It is the quality of the achievement because we did our best.”   

Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled?

“This answer is twofold. My first favorite place to travel is my hometown of Capron, Illinois. This location sounds strange, but I grew up on a large 2000-acre farm where we raised beef cattle. My fondest memories are of those days growing and living the life lessons of farm life. I always enjoy going back and seeing the town and driving past the remnants of the farm. The other destination that I hold dear to me is the other hometown of Bled, Slovenia. This is where most of my extended family lives today in the foothills of the Alps. We have a family reunion every five years. My family members back in Slovenia enjoy a rich life of farming grapes for wine, olives for olive oil, and plums for brandy.”